When the words Oklahoma and meat coincide, the first thing that comes to most people’s minds is beef. But what about salami with lardo, duck prosciutto, or andouille sausage? Oklahoma is typically considered beef country, but Chance Morgan is trying to change that.
Morgan is the owner of Native Meat Co., which retails at Urban Agrarian in the historic Farmer’s Market District. Every Thursday morning at 5 am, Morgan is in the back of the market preparing new sausages and other meats to sell. “I try to come up with new stuff every week,” Morgan said. “The product list is constantly evolving as I experiment with new ideas and cuts.”
Morgan’s passion started eight years ago, when he began trying to make sausage for family and friends that was similar to the sausage from his East Texas adolescence. “I grew up in a family that sat down every night for dinner,” Morgan said, “we always congregated around food and I loved that it always brought people together.”
Morgan described the food in his family’s household as having a Southern-Cajun influence. “Gumbo is a meal we eat regularly, and also every Christmas Eve,” Morgan said. “This requires a specific sausage that we wanted to perfect.”
Morgan continued his research on different ways to make a variety of sausages. This eventually led him to the process of curing meats. “That’s where my training as a chef came into play. I wanted to bring something unique to the OKC market.”
Alcohol is required for the fermentation in Morgan’s curing process. He started by making a classic salami using wine. It was a little too mellow for his tastes, so Morgan tried beer. He now uses beers from local breweries Coop and Anthem to give his meats a distinct and full flavor. “These local brews have added so much more depth to my meats,” Morgan said, “they have taken them to a different level.”
After fermentation, Morgan hangs the meat in the curing chamber. He built his own curing chamber out of an old wine fridge that can hold up to 30 pounds of meat. He cures anywhere from four weeks to two years, depending on the weight of the product. What he loses in weight—up to 30%—his patience gains in flavor.
The long term goal of Native Meat Co. is to have a whole-animal butcher shop that utilizes every part of the animal. Morgan wants to introduce people to new products and cuts that they never would have known about or considered. He also wants to emphasize the importance of knowing where the meat comes from and having a relationship with the local farmers.
“Working directly with farmers like Cimarron Valley for the pork, BF Farms for lamb and beef, and Wild Hill Farms for Ducks and pork, is why I am doing this,” Morgan said, “Oklahomans have an opportunity to source their foods locally and I want to aide in this growing movement by offering products in a unique way.”